When we come up against difficulty in our recovery, whether over family issues or problems at work, or with friends, we may tend to cling to the problem, become obsessed with it. Though there can be serious issues to deal with, our clinging to resolution can cause unnecessary agitation. Catching ourselves or becoming aware that we are holding onto to thoughts of difficulty can provide us with some relief. Clinging doesn’t provide us with the answer, but rather ups the ante.
The same holds true for clinging to a point of view. Our ideas, how we think things should be, is often tied to current events like the government’s lack of funding for the opioid crisis, laws changing that put out environment in greater jeopardy, or layoffs at work. Our views are all encompassing. Whatever they are, there’s usually something we think should change. We can create a lot suffering and inner turmoil in our own lives by clinging to knowing what is right, and being right. This holds true for the people with whom we are intimately involved. We know what’s best. Where did our humility go? Can we be open to other opinions?
Clinging to the rules can inhibit our inner and outer growth. We’re not talking about running red lights or stealing groceries. Let’s say we were brought up by parents who instilled in us the need to succeed. In fact they could have pushed their ideas of what vocation would be good for us. The pressure to succeed was tremendous, and so we applied for law school. We clung to our parent’s vision of us, when we really wanted to play the cello in a symphony orchestra, teach school children, be a mechanic for luxury cars, or study the culinary arts.
The opposite of clinging is letting go. This doesn’t mean giving in, but rather giving yourself space to not let the clinging control your life. The person who did what his or her parents wanted, can let go of the rules and change course. Those who cling to distress, or being right cannot effectively make change. When we become aware of our clinging, we can lower its power over us. We have a right to happiness. We have a right to our feelings, but we don’t need to cling to them. Instead we can let them wash through us.
“You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” – Maya Angelou
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